Gym class in the 1960’s would shame most physical education programs we have in school today.
ViralNova recently shared a video from the 1960’s of La Sierra High School, in California. It was a pilot program of President John F. Kennedy during his presidency to create a fitter, healthier country through reforming physical education classes across America. Who know’s where we’d be today, over 50 years later, if we’d stayed the course?
Most P.E. classes are nowhere near this intensive today, and It begs the question: Where did we go wrong? What happened to create the gym classes we have today? The drive for fitness still exists for some, but you won’t find it on your average high school campus. Examples like P90X, Crossfit, and college sports programs are out there, with plenty of results from those participating in them as proof. But a disconnect exists between the people we watch on the athletic fields, and the spectators worshiping them. A growing obesity rate, cheap fast food that’s readily available on demand, and sedentary lifestyles where everyone is glued to a screen are all factors that certainly don’t help to create a greater number of healthy people both on and off the playing field.
The video also brings up another good point: The knowledge is already out there. The human race has been active and moving for thousands of years. It’s not like the laws of physics have changed or we’ve evolved beyond the concept of burning the calories we take in. Keeping this in mind, could we be doing more to educate students on how to maintain a fit lifestyle, instead of giving them A’s for showing up to P.E. class and strolling around a track for 45 minutes?
Of course, we live in a diverse world, so a “one size fits all” approach won’t work so long as we have people of different backgrounds, beliefs, shapes, and fitness levels. But much in the same way we divide students based on their educational prowess or subjects they excel in, perhaps our physical curriculums need a reboot in order to better serve our increasingly out-of-shape populace based on their needs or preferences.
Until we recognize the physical education standards we have in schools today have atrophied into an overweight shadow of what they once were, the status quo will remain. Can we do better as a country? Check out the video below and decide for yourself.